The problem with critiquing dating is that there are no set definitions for the word. It is both a verb and an adjective, an activity and a lifestyle. While plenty of people on campus are getting engaged (ask any social club girl how many they squealed about last week), few students are actually dating because no one knows what dating really is. At ACU it’s a a committed relationship that will eventually end in marriage.
For “the world,” dating is a way to hook-up and get what you want emotionally, sexually or even monetarily. Tinder and Netflix-and-Chill is today’s way to find what you want without getting too serious.
Many Christians take the extreme opposite version of dating, so guys spend months praying before they ask a girl to coffee and girls take just as long to pray before they say yes.
Ask any student on campus what their relationship status is, and you will find they are either celebrating their 8th month-aversary with the person of their dreams, or hopelessly single with no memory of their last date, settling on their second cousin as a date to spring formal.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, dating is the series of social engagements shared by a couple looking to get married. Urban Dictionary in 2003 gives four definitions, saying dating is, ” To see someone. To be with someone. To be ‘together.’ The action of doing any sort of various activities to gain acquiantance with someone romantically.”
Throughout its history ACU has been a place to find a lifelong partner. Alisa Hail, online marketing specialist for the Office of University Marketing, attended ACU in 2006 and she said the spirit of engagement was the same 10 years ago as it is now. People didn’t go on many dates, they just went from friends, to a serious relationship, to engaged.
This may have been influenced by famous author Joshua Harris’ book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” which came out in 2003 with a new perspective on dating. The idea was that waiting for God’s plan and committing to one godly person was better than going on dates just for the fun of it, hurting others and getting hurt along the way. Harris recommended courtship or dating with the intention of marriage instead of casual dating. Today there are many critiques of the book, but those principles still influence the Christian dating culture.
These are just a few generic reasons why ACU students aren’t dating, although individual reasons do play a role. Many guys are afraid to ask girls to a casual coffee date because they worry the girl will think it means engagement or a hook-up. Girls are afraid to say yes to a guy for the same reasons, especially if they don’t know the guy very well. As to the girl asking the guy, that’s a topic for another editorial.
The result is that every student not in a relationship drifts in the friend zone -a safe place for hanging out without a diamond ring. Their best hope is to start consistently Snapping or texting a crush long enough to get a Lunsford walk that ends with a changed Facebook relationship status. For some students, social club formals and grubs are the best way to get to know someone casually without the pressure.
Now, there’s no set solution for problems like heartbreak, unfaithfulness or loneliness. But there are ways to date smart by being aware of the culture. The best resource you have is communication. If you’re thinking about going on a date, don’t be ambiguous but instead communicate what you want up front. There may not be a universal definition for dating, but whether you choose to date from Tinder or a prayer group, make your intentions clear.